Find out what can you create with your kids for free or at low cost in our Craft Activities for Parent and Child article. Craft activities like card making for boys, girls, and parents.
Holidays are a great time to get creative with your children. You don’t have to be a master artist or spend lots of money on equipment to have some fun – you just need a little bit of imagination and some basic materials to get you started.
Most art and craft stores hold classes during the holidays for both children and adults, so it’s a good opportunity to do something together and learn new skills at the same time. Classes vary in price and length depending on the chosen craft, but you can expect to pay at least $20 for a class, plus the cost of your materials.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of any craft, there are hundreds of projects you could create, and both you and your child will get better and better as time goes by. This article is designed to get you thinking about what crafts are out there, whereas our age-specific articles give you ideas for particular craft projects your child can do at home. Over time we will add templates and instructions for specific projects in lots of craft areas – so keep checking back in!
Some crafts you may want to explore these holidays include:
Jewellery Making is an easy craft to get in to, and once you’ve learnt the basics, the sky really is the limit. Even pre-schoolers can thread chunky beads onto wire, and once your child is about 8, they’ll have enough basic skills to make ‘real’ jewellery.
Like anything, there are heaps of tools and equipment you can purchase for jewellery making, but initially you‘ll just need some round and flat nosed pliers. General craft stores, sewing centres, and emporiums usually sell jewellery making equipment, but there are also specialist bead stores throughout New Zealand, and there are hundreds online.
Jewellery Making transfers into all sorts of bead and wire crafts, and before you know it you’ll be making things for your whole family. For more information about Jewellery Making, check out the Jewellery Making article in our Activities section.
Garden Art and Sculpture
Outdoor art is becoming more and more popular, and it really gives you and your child the chance to create something quite unique. There are many types of sculpture you can do, and most require learning some basic skills to get started. Older children and teenagers will particularly enjoy the size and scale of outdoor work.
To find sculpture workshops during the holidays, check out your local polytechnic, or contact your regional arts council who will be able to point you in the right direction. Arts Councils can usually be contacted through your local council.
Once you start mosaicing, you’ll understand how the term ‘mosaic madness’ came about. Mosaics are addictive, and once you learn the basic steps, you can mosaic just about anything. Young children will simply smash and stick, where as older children can carefully cut their tiles and place them perfectly to create specific patterns and designs.
To do mosaics properly you will need a pair of tile cutters, but some people are happy to simply roll their tiles in a towel and smash them with a hammer. I suggest you start by mosaicing a small flat surface, and then move on to bigger more complex projects such as planters, rocks, and letterboxes.
For more information about Mosaics, check out the Mosaics article in our Activities section.
Card Making has been around long before it officially became a ‘craft’, and chances are your children already make birthday cards, party invitations, and christmas cards for their friends and family. However there are specific card making techniques, and card making products, which can help you and your child create cards that are truly amazing.
Any paper craft or card makers’ store will be able to introduce you to the dozens of tools available, and most are happy to give you a demonstration of how they work. Attending an ‘open table’ at a card making store will give you a chance to try out all the equipment, and you can learn some tips and tricks before you get started.
Some of my favourite card making tools and materials are:
- Punches – for cutting out fun and fancy shapes
- Border Stickers
- Foam Squares – for making things look 3D
- Decorative Scissors
- Patterned scrapbooking paper
For more information about Card Making, check out the Card Making article in our Activities section.
Gone are the days when photos were simply shoved in an album and forgotten about. Scrapbooking is all about creating photograph albums that actually tell a story, and are read and re-read for generations.
Holidays are a great opportunity to introduce children to Scrapbooking, as they will have all their holiday photos to scrap. They simply need a photograph album, some patterned paper, coloured card, and some stickers or embellishments to decorate their page. Beginner Scrapbooking classes are held all over the place, and if you watch the classified section of your newspaper, you’ll even find parents (just like you!) offering classes from their home.
Scrapbooking supplies are available from general craft stores and emporiums, and there are plenty of specialist Scrapbooking stores right throughout the country. For more information about Scrapbooking, check out the Scrapbooking article in our Activities section.
Not so many years ago, everybody knew how to sew – it was just a part of growing up. Nowadays however, sewing is a craft that only a few children learn (if they’re lucky enough to have a sewer for a parent or grandparent, that is!).
Most sewing centres offer classes for children aged 10 and up, and you don’t need to have a sewing machine at home to make it work. The sewing centre will often have machines to hire, or your child can simply use the machines at the shop during each lesson. Holiday workshops are a great way to get your child started, as they can complete 2 or 3 items during the holiday period.
If you don’t have a sewing store in your area, put an ad in the local paper looking for a sewing tutor. Chances are there is a Grandma somewhere who would be only too happy to pass on their skills.
Knitting and Crocheting
Like sewing, wool crafts have had their trend cycles, and while there’s been a generation or two who have missed out on learning the skills, knitting and crocheting are once again becoming popular. Don’t underestimate the satisfaction that can be gained by completing your own scarf, or peggy square blanket.
Most wool shops offer beginners classes for both knitting and crocheting, or as recommended for sewing, try putting an ad in your local paper. If you and your child take a class at the beginning of the holidays, chances are you won’t need to organise any other activities for the rest of the break. You’ll be hooked!
Painting is something that anybody can do. All you need is some paint, brushes and something to paint on. While there are plenty of techniques you can learn, there is no right and wrong way to get paint on the picture – so don’t be afraid to just have a go.
If you want some instant art for your walls, do your painting onto stretched canvas panels. These canvases don’t need framing, and make any picture look professional. Good quality stretched canvases are available from both craft stores and stationers, and cheaper versions are often available at emporiums.
For more information about Painting, check out the Painting article in our Activities section.
There are copious other crafts you can try also – ceramics, pottery, metal work, wood turning, weaving, felting, soap making, candle making, cross stitch, tapestry, and quilting are just a few. It takes a little time and imagination to hunt out contacts in your community, but once found, you and your children will enjoy the challenge of learning something new.
If there is a specific craft you want to learn, contact your local Arts Council to find out what is on offer in your community, or watch your local paper for classes.